So, here in the US, the debate rages over the health care bill. Once you weed out politicians who were paid off by insurance companies, and the wealthy fearing new taxes, about the only argument left is "it isn't the government's job to offer health care". Well. Here is my reply to that.
For this, we're defining 'health care' as anything a government does to look after the health of its citizens. To do anything else would be picking and choosing and slanting things. Health is health. And it is in a government's best interest to keep its citizens healthy - otherwise, who else would they draft to fight wars? Governments started funding nutrition research after World War One, when a huge percentage of men drafted (45% in the UK, if I remember correctly, the book is in a box in SC) were rejected as too unhealthy or malnourished to fight. But it goes back a little further than that.
The first modern sewage system was built in one of the world's first planned cities, Mohenjo-Daro, of the Indus Valley Civilization, approximately five thousand years ago. The Romans built sewers as well as aqueducts for clean water, two thousand years ago. Then in the 1800s, Germ Theory was finally understood, and most of Europe and North America spent millions (in modern dollars) to build sewers. Eventually they were built in all major cities and most minor ones in the industrialized world. Tax dollars go every year to run waste water treatment, sewage treatment, and inspection organizations to keep our water clean.
The Pure Food and Drug Act founded the FDA here in the US in 1906, to safeguard the food we eat as well as everything we drink, and drug production and safety. It's still run by federal tax dollars. Germany is still running on a food purity law first put into effect in 1516 CE by the Duke of Bavaria. The Old Testament contains quite a lot of food laws, many involving safety and purity, going back, what, three thousand years? We think? Hammurabi's Code offers the death penalty for people watering beer. Chinese laws go back thousands of years, as well.
Vaccines. You know all those state programs pushing vaccines, advertising vaccines, keeping track of who has vaccines? The laws saying kids have to have them to get into school? You know who pays for the free ones offered in health clinics? The government. Here in the US they've been doing that for decades.
The Centers for Disease Control were founded as a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services in 1942. They look after all our sorry asses, developing new vaccines and monitoring the spread of diseases. They run on federal money. Always have. Without them there wouldn't be new influenza vaccines every year, among other things.
I could go on, but I think you're getting the idea. Technically, you could even say that traffic laws are a government-run system to preserve the health of the people. To claim that the health of the individuals in this country are not the problem of the government is ridiculous, unless we intend to shut down the Food and Drug Administration, the entire Department of Health and Human Services, cut all federal funding to hospitals, clinics, and doctors, shut down the water and waste treatment plants. That's not going to happen. So let's all pony up a few dollars to insure a couple million kids and keep them healthy, hmmm? Who do you think will pay your federally-funded social security when they grow up?